Announcements about big company lay offs is distressing to everyone, even when they aren’t directly affected, because it signals uncertainty in the economy. The fact is, large corporate behemoths, once the bastions of wealth and stability, continue to lose more jobs than they create. It reminds me of images of dinosaurs getting stuck in the tar pits and dying in place – a slow, agonizing way to go out.
Could there be blessings in all of this bad news? Absolutely! Small business is where more people are likely to work… according to the Small Business Administration small, entrepreneur-led business account for almost all of the U.S. job growth. However, creating jobs and sustaining them for the long-term and a strong economy is something else.
There are 3 proactive things that leaders of small companies can do to stay viable and thrive even in uncertain economic times
Wondering why large formerly successful companies apparently didn’t pay attention to what was going on and act when they had the opportunity before it was too late should motivate you to ask the question, “Could the same thing happen here?” Quickly find out if there are barriers to receiving and acting on information that would alert you to anything that could threaten your stability or viability, such as self-serving interests, complacency or resistance to change. Surprise, in this context, is never good, and when a company is in crisis, it can make rash decisions to raise cash, like letting valuable talent go, without considering the long-term consequences. Such unfortunate scenarios remind me of a cartoon I once saw where a doctor, talking to a head in a hospital bed following surgery to remove his body says, “Great news, we got it all!”
2. Plan To Succeed
Too many times corporate strategy is an arduous, arbitrary exercise and the output gathers dust on a shelf rather than being used as an active guide. Take the opportunity to do a reality check on the strength and value of your current strategic planning process. If you don’t have a working plan, then you are planning to fail. Organizations that get it right rarely have talent surpluses or shortages and can quickly adapt to changes in the market.
3. Share Information With Employees
Fear of the unknown can motivate people to seek information anyway they can get it and do things they wouldn’t normally do. Open up a dialogue with your employees. Find out if or how news of closings and layoffs in other organizations may be affecting them and communicate honestly about the state of your business. If you’ve got good news to share, telling it to employees will reassure them. If there are challenges, they’ll appreciate your candor and more than likely ask what they can do to help the organization improve. Regardless of the message, what they’ll hear is that you care about them and what they think, and that builds loyalty.